A generational talent, Lightfoot was a titanic figure in the folk scene whose songs have been covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Neil Young. The Canadian folk-pop icon Gordon Lightfoot, whose songwriting won the affections of Bob Dylan and gave the world indelible tracks such as If You Could Read My Mind, has died aged 84.

Lightfoot passed away on Monday 1 May in hospital in Toronto. A generational talent, and by many people’s reckoning Canada’s greatest ever songwriter, he leaves behind a formidable legacy, and a catalogue of songs that have been engrained in popular culture, whether performed by Lightfoot himself or the many artists who covered him. And not just any artists. The greats covered Lightfoot: Elvis, Cash, Dylan…Chief among Lightfoot’s gifts as a songwriter was to pare storytelling down to its very essence. It was observational and human. Lightfoot was not one to overcomplicate an arrangement lest he obscure its message or deflate its emotional currency. All you needed was an acoustic guitar and a voice – though over the years he would help expand folk’s form.